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Patent holder OpenTV has launched a lawsuit against Netflix on Wednesday, claiming the company is misusing its patents on viewer recommendations, digital rights management and video playback. The owners of OpenTV, Kudelski SA, have been attempting to negotiate licenses for the patents in question for a year, but Netflix has signed no agreement with the Swiss company.
The Humble Indie Bundle has fired up again for the last time in 2012. The new bundle brings four games for purchase, with an additional two games and documentary film if the average bundle purchase price is exceeded. As usual, the purchaser can divvy up the purchase price between the developers, charity, and the Humble Bundle purveyors themselves. Soundtracks for many of the games is also included (in lossy or lossless formats) in the purchase price.
[Update: Chitika study contradicts MoPub, says increase due to China debut] Google Maps recent arrival on iOS 6 may have led to a significant number of users upgrading to that version of iOS. This according to ad network MoPub, which saw iOS 6 adoption jump 29 percent in the five days following the release of the new version of Google Maps. A later study by rival Chitika reported that in fact, US increase in iOS 6 adoption rates were basically flat, and credited the bump to the iPhone 5's debut in China, where it sold more than two million units in its first weekend.
Communications technology company ARRIS Group and Google today jointly announced that ARRIS and Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility have entered into an agreement under which ARRIS will acquire the Motorola Home business from Motorola Mobility for $2.35 billion in a combined cash and stock transaction. The sale has already been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
Vague and unconfirmed reports that school gunman Adam Lanza periodically used violent video games for recreation have not gone unnoticed by lawmakers in Washington DC. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has put forth draft legislation that would require the National Academy of Sciences, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission, to "study the impact of violent video games and violent video programming on children," despite the fact that several such studies have already been done.
Google today announced that it would be making the Quickoffice iPad app available for free for all of its Apps for Business customers. The app allows users to open and edit Microsoft Office files stored on their Google Drive cloud accounts. The search company acquired Quickoffice in June of this year, and the free iPad version looks to be a step to strengthening the app ecosystem surrounding its Google Docs platform.
Apple is speeding up production of a second-generation iPad mini, says RBC Capital Markets' Doug Freedman. The analyst is touring chip manufacturers in China, and makes the Mini claim in a recent investor memo. "iPad Mini Gen-2: Apple's gen-2 iPad mini is getting pulled-in, and is likely to have several new suppliers, with TXN gaining content," he writes.
Cloud-storage service Dropbox has acquired Snapjoy, a photograph aggregation site. Snapjoy collects together images captured on a camera or phone, as well as those posted on social sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr, and allowed users to view their entire collection through an app for iOS or the service's website.
ICANN has released a list of applications for generic top-level domains (gTLDs), along with their position in a raffle. The randomly-drawn list sets the order for ICANN to evaluate and process the applications for domain suffixes, with the first gTLD to be issued expected to be the word "catholic" in Chinese, as requested by the Catholic Church.
Popular microblogging service Twitter hit another milestone today, passing the 200 million mark for monthly active users. Twitter announced the milestone in a tweet this morning, thanking its users, which it called "the pulse of the planet." The 200 million mark evinces the considerable growth rate for Twitter, which has added 100 million users in the time since September of 2011.
The US Federal Trade Commission has formally updated rules derived from the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, better known as COPPA, says the Wall Street Journal. The act was originally passed by Congress in 1998, but subsequent evolution of the Internet prompted the FTC to start reconsidering its enforcement in 2010. Influenced by feedback, proposed changes started emerging last year.
Google has updated its ebook app for Android with a feature that reads books aloud for the user. Updated yesterday, Google Play Books (Google Play) also adds the ability to pinch or double-tap to zoom, text-editing features for notes, as well as recommending other titles within the Play bookstore, using the already-owned book collection and popular titles to offer potential titles to purchase.
Verizon and Redbox have started rolling out Redbox Instant, according to the service's Twitter feed. The service is only deploying "gradually," Redbox says, and the company is asking for people to sign up to a wait list if they can't already subscribe. An account costs $8 a month for unlimited streaming and four DVD rentals; access to Blu-rays raises the price to $9. For streaming, Redbox is promising support for both web browsers and mobile apps.
Kodak has sold off $525 million in digital imaging patents to two consortiums led by Apple and Google, according to an official announcement. In all 12 licensees are involved, split between the two consortiums, Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation. Each licensee will get rights to part of Kodak's patent portfolio, which is highly valued as a means of defending against lawsuits, or in theory launching new complaints against competitors.
NEC is preparing to release a notebook that updates its thin line of ultrabooks in Japan with a new size of display, among other upgrades. The LaVie X has a 15.6-inch full HD IPS display, bigger than the LaVie Z's 13.3-inch display shown back in May, while keeping a slender profile that measures 12.8mm (half an inch) thick at its thinnest point.
Samsung has confirmed recent reports of a security vulnerability that affects Exynos-equipped handsets, such as the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II. In a statement issued to AndroidCentral, the company acknowledged the "potential security issue" relating to the Exynos processor and promises to release a software patch, however a release timeframe has yet to be announced.
Major phone networks in the United Kingdom have expressed their intent to support BlackBerry 10 handsets when they are released. Carriers Vodafone, O2, Three, and EE will all carry the new handsets, which are set to be on sale shortly after Research In Motion's operating system global launch event, set for January 30th.
A new report by Focus Taiwan -- an English service of Taiwan's national news agency -- is disputing some recent claims about Apple's expected HDTV. Sources close to Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, support the notion that the manufacturer is testing several TV designs. One source argues however that it's unlikely that the TV will ship in 2013, something some analysts have previously called for.
The states of Oregon and New York may be competing for a chip factory under consideration by an Apple supplier, says The Oregonian. Oregon's economic development agency, Business Oregon, says it is trying to recruit a company operating under the codename "Azalea." A non-disclosure agreement is preventing any more details from emerging, though a similar project --tagged with a "Project Azalea" codename -- is being pursued in New York state.
Another rumor relating to previous potential Nokia device reports has surfaced, claiming the troubled phone maker will be unveiling a 10-inch tablet in early 2013. It is also suggested that Nokia stayed away from unveiling their own Windows RT-based tablet this year because of Microsoft's own efforts with its Surface.
A new report by Digitimes Research examing developments in the flat panel market shows that a major trend expected in 2013 will be a shift towards much higher resolution displays for mobile devices. The report estimates that smartphone panels with 400 pixels per inch and higher, which only began in this quarter, will reach around 78 million units by this time next year. Conversely, panels with 150ppi and less will start to decline as users demand better displays on their devices, a trend started by Apple with the iPhone 4 in 2010 that featured a display with a pixel density of 326ppi.
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